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ndidomenico asked on

What's the fastest: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66Ghz, 8M, 1066Mhz FSB or Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16Ghz, 6M, 1333Mhz FSB

We're trying to decide between 2 CPU options on a Dell Optiplex model running XP Pro:
a) Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66Ghz, 8M cache, 1066Mhz FSB, 4Gb RAM or
b) Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16Ghz, 6M cache, 1333Mhz FSB, 4Gb RAM.
We want the machine that will be the fastest possible for a heavy user using MS Office applications, Web editing, scanning, pdf creation, etc, working in multiple applications at the same time. We are not using apps such as AutoCAD, 3D, Photoshop or CorelDraw.

So is a Quad configuration with lower CPU and FSB speed faster than a Duo with higher CPU and FSB speed ? The Dell rep says that applications such as Word, Excel, etc would not take advantage of a Quad cpu, and the Duo would give faster performance in this case. Is this correct ?

ComponentsWindows XP

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Gary Case

8/22/2022 - Mon
Gary Case

The Dell rep is correct ... any applications that don't take advantage of the multiple cores will run appreciably faster on the E8500, which is an excellent CPU.   In addition to the faster clock speed, the E8500 also has a larger cache, which makes a notable difference.

Another consideration is that the Q6700 is a 95w CPU, compared to the 65w of an E8500 => i.e. the E8500 will run cooler and is less likely to have any thermal issues.

I've weighed this choice for the last three systems I built ... and went with the dual core all three times (E6850 and a pair of E8400's) => all of the systems perform superbly.

If you DO want to go with a quad core, I'd see if you can get the system configured with the Q9450 ... same clock as a Q6700, but with a faster FSB and the same per-core cache size as the E8500 (but still a 95w power consumer).
Gary Case

... As a measure of raw CPU "horsepower" that's available for those applications that can take advantage of the multiple cores, you might want to compare the PassMark CPU-Mark scores:   the E8500 scores 2311, the Q6700 scores 3023.   So even though the Q6700 has twice as many cores, it only scores 31% higher in computing power.   ... and of course on any single-core benchmark the E8500 would easily outperform the Q6700.

Is MS Word 2003/2007 an application that can take advantage of a multi-core cpu ?
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Gary Case

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Thanks garycase for your well appreciated comments. This confirms the feeling I had about this issue, and I am glad to see that our Dell rep was on the right track.
Gary Case

You're most welcome.